Friday, December 31, 2010

Year 2011 – Adopting a multiracial mindset

We alone decide our destiny

Malaysia like all nations had her share of problems and challenges in the year 2010.Despite these problems by enlarge the year was a peaceful one without any major untoward catastrophes, either natural or man-made. As usual there were attempts by certain quarters to stir racial and religious sentiments but the vast majority of Malaysians of all races revealed their maturity and wisdom to ignore these provocations thereby sustaining the peace and racial harmony in the country.

Despite attempts to improve the race relations in the country with the 1Malaysia concept, ethnic relations continue to pose a real threat to the peace and harmony in the country, which had been painstakingly built by our forefathers and sustained by us for the last 53 years. However it is encouraging to know that the increasing maturity and wisdom of the people will not allow the unity attained to disintegrate to result in chaos. This is the most promising asset that our nation has today.

The year 2011 promises another year of excitement and challenges for the country especially as the 13th General Elections are speculated to take place. The nation would be at the crossroads where the people would have to decide their destiny. A two-party system of governance that is taking shape would be the main issue in contention. It will be a major test of the people’s wisdom and we are sure they are ready to rise up to the occasion to make the all important decision if and when the time comes.

Regardless of their ethnicity there is a need for Malaysians to continue promoting at a deeper level better understanding, tolerance and above all respect for the cultural and religious differences among the people of diverse ethnicity. There is a need to adopt a mindset that despite our differences we are all citizens, here to stay for good or bad and with equal stake in the fortunes and misfortunes of the country. There is a need to adopt a mindset with multiracial outlook whereby we are prepared to respect and defend the rights of all Malaysians wherever and whenever there are breached.

As we step into the second decade of the new millennium, let us resolve to strive to enhance the good we have inherited. Let us resolve not to succumb to the evil motives of the minority but be steadfast in our efforts to build a united, modern and prosperous nation that our descendants will be proud of. Our destiny is in our hands and we alone must decide that with great wisdom and maturity.

Happy Near year 2011

Friday, December 17, 2010

Discount on summonses is rewarding the reckless

The long queues at traffic police stations throughout the country to pay the discounted traffic summonses are indeed unnecessary and s the purpose for which the summonses were issues in the first place. We understand that those affected had to spend many hours to pay their fines which is indeed a loss of precious man-hours as many had to take day off from their jobs to settle the summonses.

We are told that those paying within the first weeks are given 50% discount which will be reduced to 30% subsequently after that. What is the rationale behind these discounts? Are the summonses issued to punish the errand drivers or to increase the revenue for the government coffers? The scenes at the crowded police counters of people cueing up to pay their summonses suggest that indeed a lucrative business.

There are no qualms that reckless drivers should be severely punished as they pose a serious danger to just not their lives but that of other innocent law-abiding citizens as well. In fact such dangerous divers must not only be fined and legal action taken if they fail to pay up If fining alone does not deter them then other forms of punitive action must be considered. If the summonses are aimed to deter reckless drivers then why the need to give discount without any remorse on their part? By giving discount the authorities would be sending the wrong message that they are not serious in wanting to put a stop to reckless driving by irresponsible people. They could be seen as rewarding those who break the laws and casing harm to innocent drivers on the roads.

With the escalating death on the roads every day, it is time for the PDRM to show that they are serious in acting against dangerous drivers on the roads. They must review their system of issuing summonses so that the real culprits do not escape the wrath of the law. We all familiar with a situation where motorists who exceed the speed limit slightly on a clear stretch of highway are promptly summoned whereas those driving recklessly with near-miss accidents go scot-free. For this latter category of divers, fines alone may not deter recklessness as either they can easily afford to pay them or they are being paid by their employers. These recalcitrant drivers should be more severely punished depending on the seriousness of their offense in accordance with the laws of the country. There should not be any excuses for compromising the safety on the roads.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Improving housemen training

I refer to “Too many new doctors and too few hospitals to train them”(Star,Nov27)

The revelation that about 4,000 medical housemen are joining the government for training every year is alarming but not surprising. At the rate new medical schools are being opened, this problem was expected. What is shocking is that why no remedial steps were taken before we reached this state.

The number of medical housemen undergoing clinical training in government hospitals has increased to an extent that they may not get sufficient experience and training as the hospitals and consultants are not able to cope with such large numbers. In fact the quality of training has indeed declined and there are serious concerns as to what is going to happen soon as medical career continues to attract more Malaysians, often for the wrong reasons.

We should not be surprised that the government would resort to the easy way out by building more hospitals and bring in foreign specialists to train the increasing number of housemen. Will these measures overcome the problem that we have created by our own misjudgment? It may appear to solve the problem in the short-term but it will never provide lasting solutions to an oversupply of doctors. In fact such moves will only create more problems in the future. While we appreciate the government’s efforts to increase the doctor-people ratio but it must be realistic in its targets so as not to compromise the quality in the process.

In the past there used to be about 5 houseman in each clinical department but today it can be as high as 40.We are told that each houseman now looks after just 4 patients in the wards whereas it was 10 about five years ago. On- call duties although may be taxing but is essential part of the training of a young doctor as they provide the experience needed to treat medical and surgical emergencies. In most hospitals today each houseman goes on-call duty about 3 days a month when it used to be more than 10 days ten years ago. In fact in the seventies and eighties housemen had to go on-call almost every day as they were in very short supply. The extremely low number of call duties is hardly sufficient for the houseman as they do not get to see and manage the many medical emergencies that get admitted.

The government must seriously look into the declining standard of training of our housemen as the quality of medical care in the future depends on those being trained today. We do not need large modern hospitals with state of the art equipment and highly qualified experts from overseas to train our housemen. All we need are hospitals adequately equipped with the basic modern facilities and specialists with reasonable qualification but with great zeal to teach the housemen the necessary skills to become good and caring doctors.

We already have these hospitals in the form of our smaller ones in most districts formerly called District Hospitals. Many of these hospitals function as transfer centres which treat only very simple illnesses whereas most serious ones are transferred to the General Hospitals. All we need is to upgrade them, equip them with facilities to cater for the five major disciplines of General Medicine,General Surgery, Obstetricts and Gynecology,Paediatrics and Orthopaedics and post specialists in these basic disciplines to serve in these hospitals. By doing so they become excellent training centre for housemen who just need exposure to total patient care in these disciplines not highly specialized training at the major hospitals in the various sub-specialties. The time has come to upgrade all district hospitals to specialist hospitals which should have facilities to treat the all general specialties.

Recruiting highly qualified people from foreign countries are also not the answer as these outsiders may not have the commitment to train our own doctors. Furthermore the problems created in the training our doctors are our responsibility to overcome which we should not abdicate. There are enough of own local specialists in government and private including retired ones do will do excellent jobs if only they are given the honor to serve the nation. It is a pity that many enthusiastic senior specialists are ignored because of certain prejudicial practices which should be done away with.

While efforts are being made to improve the training of housemen, their numbers must also be regulated. Efforts must also be made to reduce the number resorting to medicine as a career. Only those with good results and aptitude should be allowed to take up medicine. The number of medical schools must be stringently regulated so that mass production of doctors will be discouraged. We have to be more realistic in the number of doctors needed for our people. Definitely we do not need 4,000 additional doctors a year for our nation of 25million people.

The glut of housemen and nurses in the country is our own doing - commercialization of medical education leading to their mass production. It has resulted the rapid mushrooming of many medical schools, nearly 30 in the country, some with questionable standards. It seriously threatens to compromise the quality over quantity of our doctors which will detrimental in the long run.

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